Fyffe senior Ethan Jones will get to live out his dream at the Capstone next fall.
The standout senior football player will be reporting to the University of Alabama as a “preferred walk-on” in July.
The Red Devil said he received an academic scholarship to the university at the end of February but took an official visit Saturday, which was when he was given the official label.
“We got in touch with some of the recruiters down there, and coach (Paul) Benefield helped me a lot, too,” Jones said. “I got in touch with them, and we had been talking ever since the football season ended… but Saturday was when it all happened.“
Jones said in addition to Benefield, Tide defensive coordinator and Rainsville native Jeremy Pruitt was also integral in assisting the recruiting process.
“I just called the university and recruiting coordinator,” Benefield said. “Ethan’s just always been a little bit under the radar.”
Jones’ principal Ricky Bryant said Jones first got recognition from the university after he scored a 31 on his ACT. Bryant said Jones was currently ranked second in his graduating class at Fyffe but has remained humble despite all of his success in the classroom and on the football field.
“He always says he’s appreciative and thankful for the opportunity to learn from one of the great coaches here,” Bryant said. “I think a lot of this young man. He’s done a lot for our school and he’s a family person. He’s going to be tickled to death to be part of the team.”
Jones made a name for himself at Fyffe playing both sides of the ball, but it was at the offensive lineman position where he earned All-State accolades and was selected as a finalist for lineman of the year in Class 2A.
Jones was a part of a Fyffe Red Devils squad that made back-to-back appearances in the 2A Super 7 state championship game.
But, Jones said it was his defensive play that landed him the spot alongside a Crimson Tide squad that has ranked tops in the nation in just about every defensive category in recent years.
“I actually think I liked defensive lineman better because you have a little more freedom,” Jones said. “You can play a whole lot more aggressively on the defensive side of the ball, and I’m a whole lot more excited for it now.”
Benefield said he was confident in Jones’ ability to fill out the Tide’s D-line and possibly long snapper.
“All of the colleges I called seemed excited about getting him,” Benefield said. “He’s not selfish, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get on that field.”
Jones said he met with Nick Saban briefly after the Tide’s second practice on Saturday.
“It was right after their second scrimmage, and basically we just talked about me coming down as a defensive lineman and he said he was really looking forward to it,” said Jones.
Jones was quick to thank the coaching staff at Fyffe for preparing him for the next step to the University of Alabama.
He said it was Benefield along with his other coaches and teammates who made his journey to Tuscaloosa possible.
“(Benefield) got me mentally ready — him and all the coaching staff,” Jones said. “I’ve got to give them all the credit. (They’re) definitely the whole reason I’m ready for it.”
Jones will report officially to practice in July. The 2A state champion will line up alongside players from all over the country with the goal of adding another ring to his trophy case. It would be the culmination of a lifelong dream to play football with the Crimson Tide.
“That’s always been my dream every since I was 4 or 5 years old,” Jones said. “That’s always been my goal.”